Monday, September 5, 2016

Family and Labor Day

Happy Labor Day!  How are you celebrating today?  Usually this holiday, marking the end of summer and beginning of fall, is spent with family.  Today, however, it's just my hubby and me sharing a relaxing day at home. It's a beautiful, sunny, 78 degree day in southeastern Michigan, but fall is definitely in the air.  Windows and doors are all open with no air conditioning, and I'm loving it!

PBS has had a Downton Abbey marathon all weekend, so I've been enjoying watching the episodes [off and on].   It was fun watching Mary and Matthew's wedding again.  Today is Season Six.

Today's post is about family even though none of them are physically present.  If you read my Sunday Reflection yesterday, you know I mentioned my aunt, who will soon be celebrating her 90th birthday on September 10th.  My cousin contacted me the beginning of July to tell me she was planning a birthday celebration for her mom, and a formal invitation followed the first of August.

My paternal aunt was born and raised in Marion, Ohio but after she graduated from high school she moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana where her older sister lived.  She has remained in Baton Rouge all these years.  [Thankfully none of my relatives were adversely affected by the recent flooding.]

I wanted to attend her birthday celebration, but it's only four days before the Michigan Tea Tour, so a trip to Baton Rouge would be cutting it too close.  In lieu of being at the party, I've had fun sorting through old photos of my mother's and mine to make a picture book for her. This was my first attempt at making a digital photo book.  Have you made one?

Below are pictures of my Aunt Dot and her two sisters.  I've always had a special affection for my three paternal aunts.

Here are a few more photos in the book.  My aunt married a twin, so they had a double wedding in 1950.  

I was just three years old, but my aunt was brave and included me in the wedding as one of her flower girls.  That's me in the lower right hand corner above.  I'm told I didn't drop my flower petals as I walked down the isle like I was supposed to, and when corrected by my cousin [who was also a flower girl] I turned my basket upside down and dumped them all out at the front of the sanctuary!  I still have the 66 year old little dress.

My aunt, along with board members from Christian Women's Club International headquarters, organized the Baton Rouge chapter in 1971, and she became the chapter's first chairwoman.  She and my uncle were also among the group that founded the Christian Embassy in Washington, D.C. in 1975.  My aunt did a lot of public speaking, and flew to Michigan in 1974 to speak at my church's Mother/Daughter banquet. The theme of her talk was, "Make Love Your Greatest Aim."   My Lori was just 7 years old at the time.

[L-R:  Me, Lori, and Aunt Dot]

Our family vacation in 1987 was to Baton Rouge when Jeremy was 8 years old.  

[Jerry and Me, Aunt Dot and Uncle Rolfe, and Jeremy]

I've often said, if love of cooking can be inherited, I inherited mine from my Aunt Dot. She was featured numerous times in the local Baton Rouge newspaper for her culinary skills. The article below was from July 6, 1989. The heading states "Brides learn how to cook/Homemaker [Aunt Dot] shares her recipe for achieving fulfillment [cooking]."  Her photo is barely visible in the lower right hand corner.  She always said her cooking won my uncle's heart.  I had the privilege of tasting her great recipes and meals on many occasions.

Aunt Dot and her daughter, Debbie, along with my Aunt Ruthie and her three daughters came to Michigan for a visit in 2006 and I had an Afternoon Tea party for them.  [Aunt Dot is third on the left.]  At the end of the table is a maternal aunt with no relation to my paternal aunts, but age wise she was in-between my Aunt Dot and Aunt Ruthie and they were friends.

A cousin organized a gathering in Memphis, TN in 2012.  My cousin and my Aunt Dot drove from Baton Rouge, a cousin and my Aunt Ruthie drove from Florida, I flew down from Michigan, and another cousin came from Denver.  We had a great time together.  It's the last time I've seen my paternal aunts.  The photo below was taken at the Grapevine Tea Room. [Aunt Dot is the first person on the right, and her daughter, Debbie, is the first one on the left.]

Family is God's gift to us.  I mailed the photo book off last Saturday morning, and it should arrive in time for the birthday party. 

Thank you for allowing me to share this blog tribute to my aunt! 

On a different family related subject, my son, Steve, recently got the results from his DNA tests and the breakdown was 45% Great Britain, 16% Ireland, 14% Scandinavian, 15% Iberian Peninsula [Spain/Portugal], and a few other places with small percentages.  Steve is now wondering the specific breakdown between Jerry and me, and said it's our turn to find out!  I must say I'm quite pleased about his 45% British DNA! Wonder if that explains why I love all things British??  ;-)


  1. Lovely post. I'm sorry you will miss your aunt's birthday celebration, but what a special gift you have made!

  2. I'm delighted to read more about your wonderful Aunt Dot, and to see the pictures. I expect she will be thrilled with the photo book. I have made them, and they are great gifts. And you were an adorable flower girl, even if you did dump all the petals at once. That's what makes flower girls so special!

  3. What a fun post, and your aunt is going to LOVE that book!


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